I almost took a picture of the time on my alarm clock this morning. Not that I have a need for an alarm clock – I have a 1-year-old. Anyway, it was 7am!!! Well, like 6:57am. But…! That’s later than Shea has slept in MONTHS. I needed it after a somewhat late hockey game and then getting a little too engrossed my latest Kindle read, Ugly Love.
I’m hoping for a repeat tomorrow morning, but not holding my breath.
I know I’ve mentioned that I’m going a Healthy Holidays with Diabetes event at work next week. It was really well advertised and I was excited to try my hand at a cooking demo in my no-longer-new job. While I consistently held diabetes cooking classes in the past, they were held at the noon hour and never REALLY well attended. Consistent in numbers, but no critical masses.
When I left the office today, there were 98 (!!) people registered for the event next week and there will be a cap at 100. They figure there may be a good handful that show up the night of without having RSVP’ed. Holy moly. So today was spent grocery shopping and doing what prep we could. It was exhausting. Afterwards, I had little drive to cook dinner and I was so easily deterred from a workout…because, the couch! I promise to workout tomorrow. PROMISE.
I made this dish on Monday night and despite its simple ingredients, it did take some time to whip together. Nothing difficult, but understandably, it was more difficult with my mini me attached to my hip. Luckily, it reheated great and made TONS. This recipe easily makes 10 portions…but it can also very easily be halved.
I did tweak the original recipe by going for a cream-based pumpkin sauce versus a tomato-based sauce. I also added some protein with turkey sausage. I omitted the basil because pumpkin belongs with sage, but I didn’t feel so inclined as to add sage. The turkey sausage already offers up a bit of sage-y flavor. The pumpkin is subtle, but contributes to the smooth, creamy texture and beautiful orange hue. Much to my mother’s dismay, I thoroughly enjoy pumpkin-ing anything and everything and pasta bakes are no exception!
- 1 lb uncooked rigatoni
- 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 sweet Italian turkey sausages, casings removed
- 1 onion, diced
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- ½ tsp salt and pepper, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch lacinato kale (about 3 cups), roughly chopped
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
- 15 oz low-fat ricotta
- 2 cups part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mist a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until almost al dente, about 8-9 minutes. Drain pasta and return to pot.
- In the meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon until no longer pink; transfer to the pot with the cooked pasta and discard all but 1 tablespoon of liquid from the skillet.
- Return skillet to heat and add onion and mushrooms; sauté until softened, approximately 4-5 minutes. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add kale and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until wilted. Pour in wine and cook until reduced; transfer to the pot with the pasta and return to skillet to heat.
- Pour half and half into skillet and bring to a simmer; reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 4-5 minutes until slightly thickened. Whisk in the pumpkin, ricotta, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper
- Add the pumpkin mixture to the pot with 1¼ cups of the mozzarella cheese; mix thoroughly and trasnfer to the prepared 9 x 13. Top with remaining ¾ cup mozzarella, cover with foil, and bake for 20-25 minutes, removing the foil 5 minutes before done baking. Serve hot.